Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 Huntington County 4-H Fair

I had started a post on the fair, going into the details of all the tradition involved, and realized it was going to be way too involved of a post.  I think I'll save it for next year when my brother finishes his tenth year in 4-H.  My mother requested the photos from the fair, and I decided to just turn them into a photo book for her instead.  You can see the results below:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Eli's First Busy Bag: Open and Close

This is such a simple bag that I have saw several places online, but one of the easiest bags ever.  All I did for this one was gather a few lidded containers from around the house.

Materials:  contact case, pill sorters, jewelry boxes
Assembly:  none required

Activity:  At ten months, it is mostly a "close" bag; Eli will work to close all the compartments after I open them for him.  My 2.5 year old niece was entertained by it for quite a while, using her tiny fingers to do both the opening and the closing.

Theodore's Reading List: Great Books for Three Year Olds

It's time for another edition of Theodore's reading list.

For the most part, our favorite stories for about the last six months can be summed up in two words.  Mercer Meyer.  Theodore LOVES these little books.  And so does mama.  I really like them because they give him the vocabulary and context for so many different real life experiences.  Whether it's moving, getting a little brother, a holiday, or just being able to do things on your own, there is a Little Critter book for that topic.  It helps his little mind process things before they happen, (like moving) or reinforce memories after (like Christmas).  I really believe these books have really helped his vocabulary expand and his imagination grow.  Mama also likes them because they are short and sweet, with great illustrations.

One of the first books we read was Just Grandpa and Me which was actually my copy from growing up.  In February Theodore had it completely memorized, and I loved hearing him recite it.

We started reading We are Moving in February as well, and by the time we finally did, he understood there would be a moving truck and a new room for him, and when we finally got to our new place, Theodore gave me a hug and said, "I love my new house!  See mama, moving is not so bad after all."  Almost the exact ending of the story.

In addition to the ones pictured above, we have checked out several other seasonal ones from the library.  And I have Just Going to the Dentist ordered and on its way. 

There have been a few other books as well that have been re-read for extended periods of time.
  • The Corduroy books which share many similarities with the Little Critter books are also still a favorite.  (not pictured)
  • As Theo ages, so does Trixie in Knuffle Bunny Too (when we learned we've been pronouncing it wrong all along, the K is NOT silent) and Knuffle Bunny Free keeping him interested in that series as well.  
  • I picked up Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site at the book fair at the elementary where I was working this spring, and it was a huge hit.  Apparently there are lacing cards and a matching game based on this book too.  It even has a facebook page and following.
  • The two books about the Little Blue Truck are also a big hit around here.  Can you tell that my son is all boy? 
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is another favorite, because it was first a favorite of mine.  It can take a while to grow on you, but it really is a neat book in our opinion. 
  • The Z was Zapped:  A Play in 26 Acts is a slightly dark, slightly warped (like the W) book, but is very cleverly done.  Each act includes an alphabet letter facing its demise.  Especially dark is the "Q gets quartered" which is Theo's favorite part, even though he has no idea what it means.  If I ever teach reading, this is a great book to use with older kids for alliteration.
  • Little Kids, by National Geographic, is the first magazine we subscribed to for Theodore.  It is ad-free, and beautifully done.  Information about animals and activities are blended into this great magazine.  And Theo getting some of his own mail is very exciting.
I'm so excited to see his literacy skills grow during this next year.  He is already able to summarize the stories we read, answer questions about them, and make his own text to self/world connections.  It won't be long now before he has mastered his letter sounds and is starting to read.  Perhaps next year he'll even be a little more tech savvy... we are really considering a kindle or a nook for him.  There is a Mercer Meyer app that would be amazing for him.


I am, apparently, not a good reader.  Ever since I moved up to the red group in first grade, I have considered myself to be an excellent reader, and many people and students have told me so throughout my life.  I use good diction, expression, and tempo.  I draw kids into a good book when I read aloud.  But recently Theo has taken to telling me that "You're not a good reader yet."  It's really just his way of getting dada to read instead of mama (because, "Daddy is a good reader!"), and it really cracks me up every time.  Now he says he's working on being a good reader whenever he is doing his literacy activities.  Such a funny kid.

150th Gettysburg Anniversary

We now live in the south.  Officially.  It has taken some time to get used to, but we definitely saw the sign announcing we were crossing the Mason-Dixon line when we drove into the state.  We are just a town over from the historic site of the Battle of Bull Run (the first in the Civil War), and pretty much could head any direction and find another old battlefield.

My sister-in-law has started being a Confederate re-enactor in the last few years, so she traveled out to Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary festivities last month.  We drove straight north about 100 miles to see them and join in the fun.  It was a hot day with lots of people there, but it was interesting for sure.  I have always wanted to wear a hoop skirt and corset, but I think in the ninety degree heat that is best left to others.

When we went into town after, it was like being with a celebrity as so many people stopped and told Ravelle how they loved her dress. 

 Theo vacillated between carrying guns and umbrellas.  That's my son for ya.

 And Eli just enjoyed the day out in the sun.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Elijah: 10 months

This has been a big month for you!  As we moved into our new home in Virginia, you were reunited with dada and couldn't be happier.  You even did something new- reached for someone else while in mama's arms.  That hasn't happened before.  You started really crawling up on your knees this month, especially when Theo's tray was nearby (or the dog dishes).  You almost immediately started pulling yourself up on things, but then you fuss when you get stuck standing.  Climbing the stairs is now your current goal, and you've gotten up about six steps before you get stuck/caught.  You have started getting into Theo's toys now, and he's started a love/hate relationship with sharing his toys with you. 

Weight:  Still around 21 pounds.  You doubled your weight in your first five months, but then have only gained about 2.5 pounds in the last five.  Guess you're burning all your calories now that you're a mover.
Size:  12-18, 18-24 months, size 3 diapers
Feeding:  You still eat mostly baby food, and I'm working to build more texture into your purees.  You have gotten to start trying more finger foods this month, eggs, cheese, avocado, and shredded chicken.  Daddy even snuck a taste of ice cream to you. 
Sleeping:  You are finally sleeping through the night in your crib!  Yay.  I would keep you with me, but it is much safer in your crib so you're not rolling out of the bed.  You have been good now about taking a morning nap (about two or three hours after you wake), but you still resist your second nap.
Likes:  making sounds, climbing up the stairs, pounding on everything, petting animals
Dislikes:  getting bopped by Theo when you take his toys

Wanting to feed yourself.

Trying to figure out why Theo thinks this tastes good.

You're not really used to drinking anything other than nursing, but I'm trying to get you to use this cup.

Your eyes are still a grayish tint... not really full blown brown like dada's or brother's.
 Still no teeth!
Your favorite toy!

Big smiles with brother.

Your biggest frustration-getting trapped under the table.

Trying to get brother's trains.
You even started sticking out your tongue this month.

Happy boy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chi-ca-go! Navy Pier.

In addition to the Chicago Children's Museum, Navy Pier offers many other activities and sites for visitors.  A few we partook in included:

  • Posing for photos at the end of the pier (with a big anchor)

  • Watching all the boats and sailing vessels

This was his favorite one because he found the "big bad wolf" on it.
  •  Taking a ride on the historic Ferris wheel

There are plenty of shops and eats typical to a boardwalk as well.  Even with a dreary/rainy start to the day, we thoroughly enjoyed strolling along the pier and all it had to offer.

Timely Tuesday

Just "read" (skimmed, since I have two boys under four) a mothering blog about enjoying the small things and keeping your cool, and look over to find my ten month old paging through a board book on the floor and the three year old quietly having a goldfish snack on the balcony.  My heart fills as I enjoy the peaceful moment.  Then the big one sees me looking and starts yelling for more orange juice, and the little one takes off for my computer cord.  Sigh. I had a moment.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chicago Children's Museum!

I still have several posts to get to from our time in the Indiana area.  Here's one.

After my brother-in-law got married in Chicago, we finished out the long weekend by exploring the city.  I really haven't been to much at all in the city, so we headed down to Navy Pier to see what all the buzz was about that area.  Amongst other attractions there, was the Chicago Children's Museum.  This one was a bit pricier than some children's museum (about $14 a person), but once I got free admission by showing my teaching credentials that lowered the overall price a bit and was a nice surprise (police officers, fireman, veterans, and military can also score free tickets). 

Once inside, our crazy three year old was able to do what he does best-run around and get into everything.  The only hard part about this place was keeping everyone together (two kids, two parents, and two grandparents).
Theo acting like a vet for a pony in "Ready, Set, Pet"
And Eli acting like a pet.

Theo putting out fires in "Play it Safe"
Eli exploring buttons with grandma in "Michael's Museum".

Theo building with dada in "skyline".

Eli working hard to push the screws back in that mama pushes out in "skyline".

Eli really liked this part of the "Tinkering Lab" called the early learning nook.

There are several areas just for crawlers.

Theo loved the pretend car in "Kids Town".

And we basically had to pull him out kicking and screaming from the "WaterWays".  He definitely wasn't ready to leave and could have stayed and played all day.

The museum was very young-child friendly, with most of the areas designed for kids five and under.  However, some exhibits stretched their age threshold with specific adaptations for the older kids as well (the tinkering lab, climbing schooner, skyscraper challenge).

The whole place was also very friendly toward nursing mothers with specific locations for nursing throughout, which I definitely appreciated.

Overall, a very cool place.  It would not necessarily be my first stop on a Chicago visit (since most cities have similar children's museums nowadays), but if you have several days and want a place that is easy to take kids, I'd definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Theo's Plans

Having a pre-pre-schooler is enchanting.  This was the start of a discussion today.

Me:  What do you want to do today?

T:  I want to go to the moon.

Me:  I don't think that's a one day trip.

T:  First, we need jackets to go to the moon.  You need jackets to...

Now and Then: Wabash Pool

June 2013

July 2012

And next year there will be another little one in the photo!